Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Young House Lovin'

Thanks to one of the lovely Tri Sigma's (shout to Chelsea B.!) that I follow, I stumbled upon my newest obsession this afternoon. Move over Pinterest, I now cannot get enough of Young House Love.

This blog is written by a married couple who have now completely transformed two houses, their first one and their current residence. Not only do you get before and after pics but you get the stories of in between, the names of paint colors, stores where furnishings were bought, etc. 

They also tell many stories of their adorable daughter and dog. 

If Pinterest hasn't already had me longing for my own little house to dive into DIY projects for and decorate, this has really got me over the edge. 

I really adore the story of how they met, how quickly they made big life decisions together, their DIY wedding in their backyard and how they've celebrated their anniversaries. 

Pretty much I've found yet another website that I'd just like to pack up and move right into. I'm going to go through and bookmark (well really just pin things) that might make great DIY projects one day. When I'm a grown up. And I get a real house. And I have real(ish) paychecks to actually furnish and decorate a house.

Until then I'll continue to drool over the images seen and stories read and daze off into thoughts of my future dream house...

Monday, June 20, 2011

Help Me Understand...

Why in a cycling room with about 24 bikes someone feels the need to walk in and take the bike directly in front of me blocking the view of the instructor when there are still at least 15 empty bikes?

Regardless, I'm really glad I started this week early and at the gym. Hopefully it's a promising sign for how the rest of the week will go. One thing I love about the Monday/Friday instructor, C, is his choice of music. Lots of great 90's jams. And making us aware that the bread they bring you at Macaroni Grill has 1,000 calories. Cheers!

On a completely unrelated note, I stumbled upon this last night. One of my faves, Amos Lee, teamed up with Zac Brown Band to do "Colder Weather" live and I just can't get enough!

And just one last thing for ya, if you don't keep up with the important things in life, South Carolina beat Texas A&M last night in the College World Series opener. The next game is tomorrow at 7pm EST vs. Virginia, probably again on ESPN 2. GO GAMECOCKS!

South Carolina 5, Texas A&M 4

Happy Monday lucky charms--hope everyone's week is off to a great start! And no matter where you are from TX to SC and in between, it's going to be a hot one so don't forget a water bottle!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Texas Sized Saturday (The Return of Shopaholic: Part Deux)

Yesterday was a day of adventure! One of my friends from USC is doing her internship at Southern Methodist University in Dallas and we decided to set out on a mission to have a whole day of fun, and it was a blast! After picking up Kelly the first stop was some awesome outlets in Allex, TX...
Here I ravaged and found treasures at Ann Taylor Factory Store, J.Crew, Banana Republic, Gap, Aldo and Columbia. There were so many great stores here and after a few more paychecks I wouldn't mind going back for round two. I got so many great things that I can wear to work which I'm really excited about since I feel like I always wear the same old things. I'd say my best deal was a $59.99 sweater from Banana for $8.99. Win!

After this our second adventure was In-N-Out Burger! They're actually building one in Ft. Worth that unfortunately probably won't open until I leave, so we knew we had to find one this summer to eat at. When I visited California in middle school I remember going here and loving it, and was excited to go back. This one is fairly new and still poppin', they had police directing traffic and the drive-thru line that was 20 some odd cars long. 
We stood outside for a little, finally got into the AC (it was 106* yesterday-yuck!), ordered and then waited for our meals. And it was totally worth it!
The "before" shot--tasty! (and yes we got paper hats)

After demolishing our meals

It was a great experience, and while we felt a little gross afterwards it was totally worth it. In fact I kinda felt gross the rest of the day but after not eating fast food for a month I guess that's what will happen to you. 

Then we were back to Dallas, but no fear we continued the shopping! We went to the Shops at Park Lane where I made my final purchases at Old Navy and Nordstrom Rack. So much great shopping in this area--although the shopping center was hard to navigate. The ON was awesome, two floors and one was just for kids & babies. It was the biggest one I've ever seen. 

As we'd mostly digested our meal at this point we then decided it was time for dessert. We went to the famous Sprinkles Cupcakes, and was it worth it! The line was long but the cupcakes were too good. While there were many amazing flavors to choose from I settled on peanut butter chip and coconut (we got one for right then, and one for later of course!). The PB chip melted in my mouth, the cake was amazing and chips were ooey gooey. 
The coconut was also great (don't worry I just ate it for breakfast!)

If you thought it ended with dessert, you are wrong. We. Kept. Going. The final stop was NorthPark where we were going to the movies, and Kelly wanted to search one last Sunglass Hut for the Ray Bans she needs to replace. Luckily I was 1. all shopped out and 2. not a millionaire so I did no more shopping here. As soon as we walked in we hit all of the casual faves, Tiffany, Cartier, Burberry and the lot. This place was gorgeous! We did actually run into an awesome Forever 21, but I really couldn't muster up an ounce left of shopping in me. 

We ended the night seeing Bridesmaids which was hands down the funniest movie I've seen in a really long time! I was crying from laughing at one point and it was awesome. I highly encourage everyone to go and see it. Also  saw some great previews to look forward to. 

All in all it was a wonderful day spent shopping, eating, laughing, sweating and catching up with Kelly! After being gone for 12+ hours I crashed as soon as I got home. I did it, I really shopped until I dropped!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Sisterhood Continues


I just was in a one on one with one of my supervisors and came back to a text from my bff KMK:

"omgggg there's a new sisterhood book! they're all grown up and having a reunion"

Yes, I'm talking about the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants! A series I couldn't get enough of in high school. Who's last book, Forever in Blue, made me cry as I was ending high school just like the four main characters. I love the movies, well the first one. The second one is OK, but just doesn't do it.

I immediately went to Ann Brashares website. And there it was, Sisterhood Everlasting. Coming to us on June 14th...which is yesterday!!! This could mean a potential trip to the store this evening, and a halt in the Secret Life of Bees.

Brashares gives a description of the book and her reasoning on extending the four book series on her blog. I don't need any reasoning, I can't wait to read where Carmen, Tibby, Bridget and Lena are at age thirty! Read a sneak peek here, hopefully you're as excited as I am.


Rockin' Robin' Tweet Tweetly-Tweet

No, this post is not about the Jackson 5, nor is it about birds, well kind of. It's about my favorite form of social media. Yes, I just publicly announced that I now prefer Twitter to Facebook. But c'mon, it's just so much better!

Let's get at what I'm really trying to talk about, Twitter, and more specifically, Twitter chats. Are you familiar with Twitter chats? Are you even on Twitter? The answer to that last question better be a yes, if not please go right now and create an account.
Twitter chats give people the chance to hold a discussion, almost like a "new age chatroom" via Twitter. By using a hashtag you are able to link or label your tweets with a certain chat, or anything you'd like for that matter. Then when someone searches the name of that hashtag, all tweets including those words/phrase will show up in a stream. However, you can continue to use the hashtag outside of the set hours for the chat to continue the conversation with others.

So for example, I hosted my first Twitter chat this past Sunday. I'm working on orientation for our HESA program's Student Personnel Association (SPA). To give our incoming first year students a unique opporunity to ask their questions about grad school and moving to Columbia, I created "hesachat." So now on Sunday's we'll hold an actual chat where for two hours I'll moderate asking questions, providing answers, and using HootSuite will be able to see the stream of #hesachat tweets instantly update.

After a simple entrance to the chat asking everyone to introduce themselves, so to tweet their names and their graduating year in our program it was time to begin!

Alright folks it's time, who do we have signed on for #hesachat? Give us your name and what your HESA class year for introductions!

I must say it certainly was fun to moderate this chat. While you can host a chat using already drafted questions (of which I had a few) you can also just begin discussions and see where it takes you. By asking a few different questions, new questions sprung up and the topics ebbed and flowed. Once you see a topic dying you can ask if everyone is wrapped up on that subject and present a new question. 

I try to use social media as much as possible not just for pleasure but for school, work and keeping up with current events. While some people shudder when they think of joining Twitter and constantly knowing where someone is going, what they're eating, reading, etc. I find it fascinating. I get everything from Twitter. My news, weather, sports, sales at my favorite stores, updates on my friends, and there's my few guilty pleasure follows like Bethenny Frankel and Nicole Richie

If I'm without it for a few hours days I don't feel like I know what's really going on in the world. Call it silly but days of reading the morning newspaper and watching the evening news are becoming few and far between, especially for my generation. 

So are you intrigued about Twitter chats now? Are you going to go immediately sign up for Twitter if you don't have an account? I hope so. Read up and participate in your first Twitter chat, and if you're really into it then think about starting your own chat. For my higher education friends I would encourage you to check out SAChat, and there are even chats for different functional areas like GreekChat.

Twitter is the new age go-to source for updates on everything and anything, and let me tell you it's not going anywhere!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Return of Shopaholic

After finally being paid from TCU what better way to celebrate then to blow it all in two days? Ok well it was only half of what a regular pay check would be...and there were just too many good sales going on!

I hope you love that I used my bed and sheets as a background for snapping some pics of these things--super professional right?

I'm absolutely enamored with this new bracelet, I love turquoise and gold together and it's already been fun to wear jangling around! I'm one of the biggest culprits of pinning my hair back and found some fun hairpins at Ann Taylor Loft to add a little more fun than the typical bobby pin. I've been attempting to add more gold to my accessory collection, so I rationalized the bracelet for that, as well as the necklace from Loft. 

I grabbed the black & white dress on final sale at Francesca's which is one of my all time favorite stores and I was so excited to find that there's one just minutes from campus in Ft. Worth! While the sweater looks a little drab it's actually a really pretty soft purple color, with a fun zipper on the back. That will get pushed to the back of the closet until November. 

Now to get to the fun! The intern roomies and I have become obsessed with Extreme Couponing and have started stock piling our own. As I'm becoming more of a grown up (yuck) and will be soon back to the life of grocery shopping I've decided this fun coupon organizer will help to motivate me with trying to spend less. 

I was so excited to stumble upon the "4,000 Questions" book. One thing that Mr. Charming and I love to do is play questions games. I'm always horrible at actually coming up with questions and when I spotted this I knew it was a definite purchase. He'll be coming out to TX at the end of my time in Ft. Worth to drive back to the East Coast with me, so I'm hoping this can help to entertain us some on the long trip. 

Also--don't forget that Bath & Body Works is currently having their semi-annual sale! I won't even get into how much I purchased there. But they had like $2 hand soaps so go stock up for the year. Anyone else find some great purchases this weekend?

Saturday, June 11, 2011

30 Days of Pictures: Day Eleven, Gross

Day eleven - A picture of something you hate

Ok, so I don't like the word hate. I use it sparingly far too often than I should, so I'm going to add that to the list of things I need to work on. The list is never ending. There sure are some things in life I can't stand though.

Yellow Mustard,
 Rye Bread,


Drivers in Columbia, SC.

The thought of the first two, the thought of the taste, makes me want to cringe and barf at the same time. And the last one, well it just makes me want to scream, hit my steering wheel, and move out of Cola...

Friday, June 10, 2011

Sweet Southern Comfort

If you haven't noticed the updates to my Library as well as the new obsession with using Goodreads, I'm definitely on a reading kick this summer. I wrote down books all year that I wanted to read and now I'm cracking into them. After the first few fun ones I'm going to dig into my pile of student affairs & education books, should get interesting.

I started out with quite a few of the typical favorite chick-lit romances. The characters are fun and careless, and you know exactly what's going to happen. Minus a few short surprises. After this I was in need of something really good, and I found that in Beth Hoffman's Saving CeeCee Honeycutt. I had no clue what it was about when I came upon it on someone's blog, but got my hands on it and immediately couldn't put it down.

It's the tale of CeeCee Honeycutt who grows up in Ohio with her psychotic mother and absent father. After a family tragedy when she's twelve, her great Aunt Tallulah opens her house to CeeCee, swoops her up and transplants her into Savannah, GA, where her mother is from. There's not too much detail I can give away but this book was everything I was looking for and more. I didn't know where it was going to go, and every chapter surprised me.

It's an enchanting and heartwarming tale, with many strong feminine characters and a splash of southern charm. It made me long to continue reading the story of CeeCee in a hammock under a big magnolia tree enjoying the afternoon summer breeze. I shed tears over the story of a young girl who lost bits of her childhood, but it warmed my heart to read of the strength she built and friendships that bloomed during her first summer in Savannah.

A few favorite quotes...

It's how we survive the hurts in life that brings us strength and gives us our beauty.

I realized that Southern hospitality not only came from the heart but was a practiced social art that had been passed down from one generation to the next--like fine silverware or china. Southerners had a way of doing things that made you feel special. 

People is wise 'cause they get out in the world and live. Wisdom comes from experience--from knowin' each day is a gift and accepting it with gladness. You read a whole lot of books, and readin' sure has made you smart, but ain't no book in the world gonna make you wise. 

I don't typically re-read books, but I would definitely bring this back out in a few years. I would love to purchase a copy so that someday hopefully my own daughter could enjoy this read of the magic and importance of female friendships. I highly encourage all of you to go out and get your hands on copy!

Sunday, June 5, 2011


If you could gather what I was going to write about for this, then I like you already. Something I became quite familiar with during my year on the road was airport acronyms/abbreviations/whatever you'd like to call them.

What's most fun is trying to guess what they are for each airport. Some of them are super random and don't make any sense with what the actual airport's name is. A lot of times this can be because there are two cities with the same name that have airports. For one example: Wilmington.
ILG: Great Wilmington, DE
ILM: Wilmington New Hanover County, NC
While I'd traveled by air quite a bit before college I used to get confused when people would always call Wilmington "ILM" or have ILM stickers on their car. I then caught on pretty quickly.

Traveling this weekend was a breeze. It helped me finish three books, and due to (miraculously) not checking any luggage, and printing boarding passes ahead of time, I made it from the car to gate in record time.

One book I devoured this weekend and finished on the plane from BWI (Baltimore) to HOU (Houston), was Laura Dave's The First Husband. In this book, the main character Annie is a writer who does a column on traveling. Reading this excerpt I found many of the reasons why I find traveling so exciting:

When you travel, you can become anyone. No one knows you. No one is telling you who--based on your history, or their ideas about your history--they've decided who you are. When you travel, everything is unfamiliar and possible again. Like with a brand-new job or a brand-new partner. Like with a first kiss. For a short, perfect while, you get to see yourself--you get to experience yourself--as new. Until the inevitable (and inevitability surprising) reminder: you are still you. 

Saturday, June 4, 2011

30 Days of Pictures: Day Ten, Childhood Treasures

Day ten - A picture of your most treasured item
I'm really not sure why I keep using "day (insert number here)" for this little project. I think I started back in what, March? And I'm only at ten. Whatever, I guess it's the consistency with it that I like. I am determined to finish this before the summer is over though. We'll see...

Anyways, it took me quite a while to think of what my most treasured item would be. There are probably many things. My journal, certain stufffed animals, my favorite dress, my yearbooks, many things inside my memory boxes...

Being at home in my childhood room was the perfect place where I laid eyes on some of my oldest and most treasured items.

I don't know about you, but when I was little my Madame Alexander doll was my "dolly." These definitely are not her original clothes, and she's seen much better days but is still a treasure from the earliest days of my life. Now for the ratty mess on top of her...that would be what's left of my beloved "blankie." Blankie, threads, whatever. That's it. I promise it really did used to be a blanket.

Then I threw on top a new, but still old treasure. My great grandmother's ring that I was given on my twenty-first birthday. It's absolutely goregous and I always have it on. I want to have the stone used in my own engagement and wedding bands, but put into a different setting because yellow gold just isn't my thing.

So here you go, some of my most treasured items. Taking it way back with this one!

Friday, June 3, 2011

First Comes Love, Then Comes Marriage...

After consuming Eat, Pray, Love, and absolutely loving it, I decided that I needed to find out what happened next with Liz Gilbert and her new Brazilian infautuation, Felipe. I had heard she had written a second book, Committed and I decided to check it out. I was warned that many people had not cared for it as much as Gilbert's first best seller, but that was a no brainer. Of course who wouldn't love a book about exotic travels around the world more than a book detailing the long history of marriage.

So I decided to read it anyways, and in less than twenty-four hours I completed my task. It was a breeze to read through as I found it extremely interesting. Gilbert goes on to tell exactly how her and Felipe ended up with a plan to marry after both of them, heavily wounded from their first marriages, decided never to marry again.

The bulk of the book is a lot of research that Gilbert did on marriage. How it has evolved since the biblical times, how customs were different in Western and Eastern societies. She even interviewed her own grandmother and mother about their marriages which occured in drastically different decades. All in all I found it to be amazing despite some of the not-so-great reviews I read about the book.

One of my favorite parts...

People always fall in love with the most perfect aspects of each other's personalities. Who wouldn't? Anybody can love the most wonderful parts of another person. But that's not the clever trick. The really clever trick is this: Can you accept the flaws? Can you look at your partner's faults honestly and say, 'I can work around that. I can make something out of that.'? Because the good stuff is always going to be there, and it's always going to be pretty and sparkly, but the crap underneath can ruin you.

So whether or not you've read Eat, Pray, Love, I would suggest this book. You don't really need the background to understand the story between Gilbert and Felipe, and all of the historical information on marriage is pretty neat!